These beliefs slow down the process of writing and selling a great book. Sometimes they even cause people to abandon their projects.

Do you have any of these beliefs?

If so, don’t worry. Read on and get the knowledge you need.

MYTH 1: I just need to write a draft and the publisher will take care of everything else. In truth, the best books go through several revisions before a publisher even sees the manuscript. Depending on what kind of writer you are, you may even need to completely rearrange your content in the second and third drafts until your ideas start to really work on the page.

If you are not able to revise – for some people it’s a very painful process – you might need to hire a collaborator, a professional who can take those first drafts and turn them into a book that a publisher wants to buy.

Be prepared to invest in you editorial work upfront, since in-house editors are often overloaded with projects and unable to give your manuscript the attention it needs to develop fully.

MYTH 2: The best writing is freely creative, expressive and wild. If this is your most comfortable process for getting ideas down, go ahead and write your first draft this way.

But know that a good book is well structured, thoughtful and precise in its delivery. So somehow you will need to get from your freewheeling first draft (which may be necessary, don’t get me wrong) to a structured and deliverable manuscript that meets a publisher’s expectations.

You may need to face your belief that being freely expressive is all you need to publish a book. And, you may need to hire a strong editor.

MYTH 3: Writing a book will solve my financial worries. These days, big advances are not so common. Often, first-time authors, or authors of niche genres, will receive advances of less than $10K.

Keep in mind that no matter how big or small, the advance is paid out in thirds: one third on signing the publishing contract, one third on delivery of the manuscript, and the last third on publication.

If you have an agent, you will pay her out of the advance. You also need to pay taxes on the advance.

So, plan accordingly. (In other words: don’t quit your day job!)

MYTH 4: A book will make me a (major or minor) celebrity. This can certainly happen, but you need to already have visibility in your field. This is something you can build by planning a great strategy for engaging your audience.  

A book alone likely won’t bring you fame and fortune. But, if you’re smart, you can get the attention your ideas or story deserves by leveraging your book in the market, before and after publication.

So, work smart!

MYTH 5: I don’t need a book proposal to sell my book to a publisher. If you intend to sell your non-fiction book to a traditional publishing house (this includes memoir), you need a book proposal.

Even if you have the most insider-y contact at a publisher, your contact will still request a proposal.

Even if you have published a book in the past, and you’re working with the same agent and editor, you still need a proposal.

Even some fiction these days needs to be presented with some breakdown of the market, the book’s audience and competing titles.

In short: you need a book proposal.